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5 Ways to Earn Passive Income as a Photographer without Social Media

It's not just about selling Lightroom presets
Photo of a guy in bed

The goal of many photographers – of many people, for that matter – is to be able to earn a chunk of your income passively, i.e., without having to actively work for it. Whether it’s renting out a property or investing in the stock market, the beauty of passive income streams is they require a minimum of effort to maintain. Once set up, the money, largely, just accrues.

For many pro photographers these days, creating and selling editing presets for Lightroom and other programs is a popular way to build passive income. But there’s a lot of competition out there in this space and it helps to have a large social media following to market your photography presets to.

But what if you don’t have a big following and/or are just not interested in building one? There are quite a few other ways to earn passive income as a photographer without social media as Atlanta-based pro Evan Ranft points out in the below video.

#1 Sell/Rent Your Camera Gear

“I’m not talking about just selling your gear on eBay or selling it on Craigslist,” he explains. “What I’m talking about is selling your gear in the form of rentals and using a platform like ShareGrid, which allows creatives to put their camera gear up on a marketplace so people can come and rent it from you. Renting out gear is a massively overlooked way to make money with your camera.”


#2 Print Store

“I’m not talking about creating a print store for your actually photo artwork. What I’m talking about is creating an actual print store dedicated to a certain niche or a certain genre or a certain topic.” As an example, Ranft notes that for several years he shot photos exclusively of the city of Atlanta, which he could have sold in an online print store dedicated to the topic. That way, he would attract a larger group of people searching for Atlanta images, not just searching for him as a photographer.

#3 Education

“The other thing I wanted to talk about is selling educational material via Gumroad or Teachable. These are two websites that allow you to put courses and educational material up for people online. One great thing about both of these platforms is they are extremely searchable. Maybe you specialize in editing, maybe you’re a Lightroom expert. You can be someone who creates an Lightroom expert guide online. And if your landing page and your sales page is good enough, trust me, people are going to buy it.”

#4 Digital Products

“When it comes to photography, a lot of people think about digital products simply as presets. But there are so many other ways that you can offer value to potential people out there via digital products if, once again, you think about what you specialize in. Maybe you’re someone who understand commercial photography contracts; maybe you understand wedding photography contracts? You can create digital products that teach people about how to write these contracts.”


#5 Subscriptions

“For example, let’s say you are a landscape photographer in Oregon. That’s what you’re known for. If you can identify people who are interested in this particular thing and create a product via Patreon, Twitter, or YouTube that people are willing to subscribe to, you very well could start making some extra money every single month creating the social media content that you would create anyways. I guarantee you in three, four years, there’s going to people who are making their entire living simply off their subscriptions.”

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